Don’t Be Fooled by a Child Tax Credit for Pregnant Moms

It's about establishing a framework for fetal personhood laws.

Don’t Be Fooled by a Child Tax Credit for Pregnant Moms
Photo:Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc (Getty Images)

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) has proposed expanding the monthly child tax credit to pregnant people, which sounds like a great idea from a bird’s eye view. It’s actually just the latest disingenuous conservative ploy to establish a fetus as a person under federal law, thereby setting the stage for a total ban on abortion from conception.

The Biden Administration sent up to $300 per child each month to most families for six months as a part of the pandemic stimulus legislation. The cash influx lifted an estimated 3 million children out of poverty. Piggybacking on that, Reps. Lamborn and Jason Smith (R-MO) and Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced the Child Tax Credit for Pregnant Moms Act, which seeks to recognize a fetus as a child under federal tax law. Instead of working to restart the monthly tax-credits (proposed in the stalled Build Back Better legislation), the Republican framework will give pregnant people, specifically women, monthly payments during their pregnancy, and set the stage for abortion to be considered murder under the law.

In this bill’s framework, an eligible tax payer is “the mother who carries or carried such a child in the womb and is the biological mother of such child or initiated the pregnancy with the intention of bearing and retaining custody” or the husband on a joint tax return with the mother. The bill would open up a $2,000 annual tax credit.

Lamborn, Smith and Daines attempt to paint a rosy view of the legislation in their press releases about the HR 6505. The money can be used for medical bills, diapers, a new crib and more, the release states. But the purpose of the bill is to codify “unborn child” as an individual starting at fertilization.

If the pregnancy ends in a miscarriage or a stillborn birth, according to the bill, the taxpayer (again, a woman or a husband filed on a joint return) can still get the payment, as long as they can prove the miscarriage or stillbirth with a certificate from a “qualifying health care practitioner.” But if that pregnancy ends by an abortion or “any other act that was intended by the mother to cause the death” of the fetus? Does not count! And if a pregnant person’s “qualifying health care practitioner” is employed by or volunteers for a place that performs abortions? They’re not qualified to assess your health with regards to this legislation.

Of course, who doesn’t believe in supporting expectant parents and their expanding families? But this cynical ploy by politicians to use under-resourced families as a bargaining tool is abhorrent.

If Lamborn, Smith and Daines cared about providing funds for people while they’re carrying a pregnancy, they would support a universal income. They could support free pre-K and kindergarten. They could send starter kits of clothes, sheets and toys for expectant parents like the Finnish government. These politicians could sponsor any number of legislative actions not tied to a certain type of birth or parenting. Instead, this legislation specifically demands a woman carry a fetus to term, specifies what kind of doctors are qualified for obstetrics, the kind of families they form and expanding the bureaucracy around pregnancy loss.

You can just give people money. It doesn’t have to be tied to their possible impending pregnancy and legal heterosexual marriage.

If a fetus or an embryo or a zygote is seen as a legal person with the same rights as I, the person writing this blog, and you, the person reading this blog, we will have reached the conservative endgame. This is the conclusion of every personhood bill — expand child-tax credit, require child support for a fetus, life insurance for embryos, murder charges for miscarriages and outlawing abortion. Eventually if a fetus is a person, you can legally control the reproductive process of others and subjugate those capable of pregnancy.

And that should scare everyone.

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